Tempe Town Lake, in the heart of downtown Tempe and adjacent to the Arizona State University (ASU) campus, has terrific trails for running on each side. Tempe is the same distance from the Phoenix airport as downtown Phoenix,. This is one of the opportunities to do a nice, long flat off-road run in the Phoenix area. Nice water and mountain views, with paved and gravel options. You can run a 3.5 mile stretch along the lake, or make a complete loop for 7.5 miles between S McClintock Dr. and N Priest Dr. We prefer the south (Tempe) bank, which features access to downtown Tempe off Mill St., Beach Park, and the University. On the north side, there’s access to Papago Park and its wonderful trail options. A pedestrian bridge is a good crossing option, at the Tempe Center for the Arts. Bonus: Trail is lit at night, which is useful for those torpid Phoenix summers.
Add-Ons: The Rio Salado South Bank Pathway extends for 7 miles west of N Priest Dr. to central Phoenix, following the Salt River (often dry). Not all that scenic, but a good way to get in some flat miles. Also, Papago Park makes for a nice add-on. The Town Lake trails also connect to the Indian Wash Greenbelt. From the Town Lake trail on the south side, you can also take a jaunt up A Mountain.